Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Green Smoothie, Anyone?

Pinterest has inspired me again! I have about two billion recipes that I plan for us to try at one time or another. We’ve tried a few that I’ve pinned – all but one were hits. Pretty good results to me! But recently I saw a pin for a green smoothie and started thinking that maybe I ought to try them again. I tried a couple when we were living in Minnesota, and I didn’t dislike them (well, one was gross) but I never stuck to drinking them. With all that is going on I feel like it can’t hurt me to be as nice to my body as possible. With us still staying in Wisconsin I’m not able to cook like I’d like. With a green smoothie I’ll be able to get tons of proteins, nutrients, and healthy goodness that I’m undoubtedly missing out on these days. I’ve also read that they help you lose weight (score) and….um…clean you out. So I’m kind of going to go into this as an experiment in addition to striving to provide healthiness to myself.
I found a Hamilton Beach personal blender at Target for $16.99 and went that route instead of buying a big ol’ whopper of a blender (though we do need a full-size one since our blender/food processor combo broke on us a while back). It is a 14 oz capacity, and the blender container part can be used as a cup. The lid has a slidey top to drink out of and it looks like the bottom would fit into a standard drink cup holder in your car. Pretty convenient! Oh, and it worked really well! I was wondering if it would be wimpy, but it wasn’t! You have to hold the “blend” button down the entire time, but that’s no big deal. Also, you can't blend warm/hot mixtures, but that's alright for me.
What did I put in my green smoothie? About a cup of fresh blueberries, half a peach, a medium-size banana, and about large handful of fresh baby spinach. Before when I tried this smoothie I used frozen fruit, but I think fresh fruit is the way I will go this time. Only thing about not using frozen fruit is that my smoothie today was warm…and that’s gross. Adding ice helped though, so I’m all good. If you haven’t tried a green smoothie and think that it would be nasty – and believe me I was prepared to be grossed out when I first tried them – you probably will be pleasantly surprised! You really don’t taste the spinach as the fruit makes it sweet tasting. I’m noticing an…earthy aftertaste as I sit here writing this, but it’s not bad at all. I’m planning on trying new fruits over time, and also adding increasing the greens ratio. I’ve read that any type of green will work in these types of smoothies, but spinach is sweeter so it might be a good starting point. I would recommend green smoothies! How can you go wrong with getting so many good things in one serving?! By the way, the ones I've made so far are NOT pretty. They've take on a really ugly color, but don't let that scare you!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wasn't Expecting That One

Yesterday I got news that I never would have expected to hear. When I heard from the nurse on Tuesday she explained my results, told me what my immediate next step would be (Provera for ten days to start a period), and then said that Doctor wanted to have a phone meeting with me. I scheduled the meeting for Thursday (yesterday) and I slowly got more and more apprehensive about what Doctor wanted to discuss. I figured that it had to be pretty serious if he wanted to talk to me, otherwise why wouldn’t he have just had the nurse instruct me of the next step he thought was appropriate.  Okay, so I was way right.

My doctor is thinking that my egg reserve is decreasing prematurely. This typically doesn’t start to happen until a woman is around 51 years of age.  See but I’m only 31. The reason he thinks this is what’s going on is based on the fact that my body didn’t respond at all to the Letrozole I was recently on. Another indication that something is seriously wrong is that it took about twice as long to produce one follicle measuring 19mm back in April of last year when we had our first round of treatment. He said that I should have had 10-15 follicles of 20-25mm by that point. The fact that it had taken so long to just get one follicle to get to the appropriate size was not a good sign. When I say that this was the last thing that I ever expected to hear that it is a total understatement because the possibility of THIS happening wasn’t even in my mind. I thought he was going to say that we needed to move on to the injections or at the very worst that we just needed to move on to IVF. I was not expecting to hear that I wouldn’t be contributing anything on my part to this process.

So here’s what we do: We need to confirm that this IS what is going on. On day three of my cycle I’ll go in for bloodwork and an u/s. He’s going to do check my FSH and estrogen levels and also my Anti –Mullerian Hormone (AMH) levels.  From the little research I have done and to state it very basically, AMH levels help to show the remaining size of the egg pool, or “ovarian reserve”.  As a woman gets older, the AMH levels decrease as does her egg pool. I’ll also have a u/s done to check my antral follicle count. What are “antral follicles”, you ask? They are the small follicles that can be seen, measured and counted during a vaginal u/s.  Basically the number of antral follicles they can see indicates what is left in the ovarian reserve/egg pool. As women age the antral follicles decrease along with the eggs in the reserve.

So what does this mean? If this in fact is what is going on with me then our options at this point are adoption or donor eggs. The donors are selected by Doctor’s office and are put through a thorough screening process to look at family medical history, lifestyle, their general health, etc. Only the most promising and healthy donors are approved for donation. They would look for donors who share similar physical characteristics as me/us. We wouldn’t meet the donor – this is all anonymous, which I would prefer. So she won’t know who is receiving the eggs and we won’t know who is donating them. How does it work? The donor would go on the FSH injections that I would have been scheduled to take. This will allow Doctor to control the growth and status of her follicles. When the time was right she would give herself the trigger shot to initiate ovulation. She would then go into their office and the egg retrieval would take place. At that point, or by then, Steven would have dropped of his sample. The two would be combined, and then after five days I would go in and an IUI would take place, except rather than injecting sperm into my uterus they would be injecting an embryo. At that point we would hope and pray that it attached.

How do I feel about this? I mean, assuming this IS what is going on, I guess I feel relief that there is still an option for us before adoption. I’m not against adoption in any shape or form, but I think that it is understandable that we would want to eliminate all possibility of conceiving our own biological child before moving onto that option. While this child won’t be mine biologically it would be Steven’s, and I would still be carrying it and delivering it. I can’t ever see a time when I would look at the baby and think, “You’re not mine.”, you know? So while I’m appreciative that there is still another step for us, I am saddened by the thought of not seeing myself in my child physically. You know, in the end though, that is not important and wouldn’t stop me from wanting to go through with this. If we are interested in adoption, should that be our only option in the end, then I’m certainly open to using donor eggs. In the end all that is important is that we have a healthy baby. Hopefully this will work for us. Let me tell you that it is really strange to discuss my hair and eye color with the coordinator who finds and matches donors with recipients. I never thought I’d be having conversations like the ones I had yesterday. But I guess this is the hand that we’ve been dealt. I’m grateful for my husband for his continuous positive outlook. We knew before we got married that we would need help having kids, but we never anticipated that it would come to this. At the very beginning of our journey we just thought that I would need help. Then it turned into him also needing help. Then it turned out that IVF would probably be our only option. Now I can’t even contribute a single follicle to create an egg and we are discussing donor eggs. Throughout this whole process he has only been positive and has remained upbeat. Up until recently, we were told that we’d only be able to do IVF, I was also positive and certain that this would work out. Since the IVF day I’ve had a hard time staying positive. I do continue to think that things could definitely be worse and that what is supposed to happen will happen, but I’ll just say that it is good that he has and will continue to remain optimistic when I’m not feeling it.

It’ll be a little while before I go back in for testing. I’m anxious to find out what the results show, obviously. In a way I’m alright confirming that this is what’s going on with me. That way we won’t be talking about follicle growth and hoping that I can grow follicles. Instead we’ll be talking about when we’re going in for the procedure, which is very positive to me. We’ll see….

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bitch Ass Ovaries

Friday I went in for bloodwork to check my estradiol levels and to have an u/s to see how things were looking after a week on Letrozole (5mg). Results were not what I wanted to hear: the lone follicle that was found during my baseline u/s was still hanging out but it hadn’t grown at all. This, from what I understand, made it a non-functioning follicle. Doctor decided to have me take my final round of Letrozole the following morning and then come back the next Tuesday (today…I’m behind) for an u/s to see what’s what. Here was my thinking: If nothing had happened after a week on the Letrozole it was pretty unlikely that I would suddenly pop up with several follicles on my own over those three days without the drug. That brings us to today, Tuesday….

I went in for my u/s and heard back fairly quickly from the nurse. The verdict: Doctor had decided to cancel this round because there were no follicles to be found, only a couple of cysts. So I’m to start Provera today and take that for ten days. This will “calm my (bitch ass) ovaries down and start a bleed” according to the nurse. I’m also scheduled for a phone meeting with my doctor this Thursday.

I saw this coming. Not from the start, but after Friday when the lone follicle hadn’t grown at all. I knew in my heart that there would be no good news to find this morning. That doesn’t mean I’m pessimistic but, rather, realistic. I understand enough of what’s going on based on previous experience to just know when something isn’t going to work. But knowing it and expecting it doesn’t make it easier to take. There were tears, but I’m alright now. Frustrated and disappointed, yes, but I’m alright. I struggle with how disappointed I should be throughout this process. Even though we’ve been WANTING and have technically been on this road for several years, it isn’t like we’ve actually been TRYING. I understand that there are women and couples trying month after month on meds, some of them even losing babies, so I know that we haven’t exactly been through the wringer just yet. But, as my best friend (shout out, MLR) helped me to understand, we still have been on this road with or without results. I think for the longest time I just wanted to be doing SOMETHING with this process. And now we are and I should be relieved because we are making process. Not the progress that I’d like, but we are making progress. I understand that, while it sucks that my body didn’t respond to 5mg of Letrozole that maybe it will respond to double that. Doctor can’t slam my body with a high dose of medicine. That would be dangerous and we’d still end up in the same spot – with nothing…except maybe really bad effects from over-stimulation. So I get it. I do, but it still sucks. I’m trying really hard to have a positive outlook, but I’m struggling. I’m not down in the dumps and wah-wah. But I think I just need a smidgeon of good news. Just a bit. I really don’t know what to expect Doctor to say Thursday. Like Steven keeps saying, the worst case scenario right now is that we end up back where we were a year ago with the injections. We know THAT worked. So we wait until Thursday…..
Okay, and as a sidenote, I would like to address my ovaries. If you don't want to function properly (I know, there's more to it than that), can you at least NOT HIDE DURING THE U/S's? IT'S NOT FUNNY.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A New Start

I haven’t really felt much like sitting down to gather my thoughts on what’s been going on with us fertility-wise in quite a while. Up until the past couple of weeks it’s kind of been up and down and all over the place for me. I’m not sure how many people will even read this, but I’ve decided to get back on with it and write for myself also. It feels helpful to get my thoughts out and write it all down. And who knows, maybe one day soon I’ll be able to reflect back on our journey in a positive light.
So here’s what’s going on. The last time I posted we basically didn’t have any idea of what was causing Steven to have a low sperm count. He had been tested, examined, poked and prodded as thoroughly as was possible and there was still no explanation. His urologist wasn’t offering the option of putting him on meds to try to boost his numbers (which he had been one for a short time last year). According to their ratings he was at the low end of normal. The very low end. To me that was very frustrating – why not at least see if some medicine would work to help us out a little bit. But no, that wasn’t an option with this guy.  He felt that Steven was too young and I guess he was worred about long-term effects. Which to us didn't make a whole lot of sense because it's not like Steven would have to be on anything for the rest of his life or anything . But then again we are wanting something pretty badly. And also we aren't doctors and stuff. After reviewing both of our most recent results my doctor handed down the ruling that our only option would be IVF. Now. Here’s the thing. When we first started seeing fertility doctors years ago we always said that if we ended up having to do IVF we definitely would. Of course we would! We want a baby! We’ll do whatever it takes! But see, when it came down to it, even seeing it coming for a few months, the ruling hit me like a ton of bricks. It wiped me out. Having to make that decision, when it came down to it, was massive for me. It was the most heavy decision I have ever faced in my life so far. I have faith in modern medicine…it’s not the medical aspect of it that scares me. It’s the fact that it is so expensive and there is no guarantee that it will work. It is more invasive. It is draining physically, mentally, and emotionally. I ended up going to visit my parents that same day and I swiftly morphed into an emotional mess. I mean, I wasn’t traumatized, but whenever even thinking about THINKING about making the IVF decision crossed my mind I would start to cry. What if it didn’t work? What if it did work? The money. If it doesn’t work it’s like lighting $15K on fire and watching it burn. It’s like paying for a new car up front and not knowing if it’s going to run. But what if it did work? It’s not like we have oodles of money lying around, so it wasn’t like we could just turn around and start another round of IVF if the first one didn’t work. So we’d have to wait for some time to try again. But what if it did work? I started thinking that maybe we should start the adoption process. My thought was that even though adoption is costly and can take quite a long time, at least in the end we’d have a baby or child in our home, you know? Steven wanted us to try a round of IVF and then if it didn’t work we would start the adoption process.  I was stuck on the issue of time. As with starting another round of IVFI, I knew we would be able to financially start the adoption process immediately. Time going down the drain. Keep in mind that I was in an extremely emotional state at that point and so everything was doom and gloom. I still have anxiety over the decision and what it involves, but I'm feeling considerably better. I don't cry when I think of THINKING of the decision now, so that's good. Basically we were stuck in a horrible place where neither or us would budge from what we thought we should do. This might seem really overly dramatic to some people, but when you are faced with such a heavy decision that has no guaranteed outcome it can be as bad as I'm describing. BUT WHAT IF IT WORKED?
Around this time Steven started working in Wisconsin, filling in as a GM for the sites there.  I’m going to skip a bunch of stuff and just say that I became friendly with one of the girls who worked at the hotel we're staying at. I’m a talker. I’m my mom’s daughter. I’ll talk to strangers. I’ll talk to the wall. So she and I ended up talking about what's going on with me and it turns out that she too had to see a fertility specialist for help getting pregnant. While our situations aren't exactly the same, they were similar enough to make me wonder if I shouldn’t make an appointment to at least meet with her doctor for a second opinion. Y’all, it was the best decision we have made. This guy is awesome. He took the time to thoroughly detail what my body and Steven’s body SHOULD be doing and what our options were. I mean, he drew diagrams. Might not seem like a big deal, but to me the fact that he took the time to so thoughtfully talk us through what’s going on, what can be done, what our options were, etc, meant the world to both of us. We didn’t feel like customers, instead it felt like he WANTED to help us. Like he cared. One thing he threw out there as a possible explanation was that I might have PCOS, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which is where there is an imbalance of hormones, possible cysts involved, lots of other stuff that could be causing my infertility. I haven’t researched it enough to speak more on it so I’ll leave it at that. I knew right away that I didn’t have that. I've never had any other symptoms and plus I’ve been to several doctors and have had so many u/s done that someone would have noticed something if there were any cysts. Or they would have made the connection based on other could-be symptoms and looked into it further. After reviewing my records he determined that I in fact do not have PCOS. Which kind of sucked because then at least we could have worked on “fixing me” to some degree.  So anyway, that leads me to what’s going on right now.  Today…
So I started taking a drug called Letrozole last Thursday afternoon. From what I understand, Letrozole is similar to Clomid, but stronger and it doesn’t affect the uterine lining as negatively as Clomid does. It is in 2.5mg pill form so no getting stuck. Another bonus – a big bonus – is that insurance covers it. Talking way cheap. So I’ve been on Letrozole since last Thursday afternoon after I went in for my estrodial testing and baseline u/s. The findings on the u/s were that I had a cyst  on my left ovary and a lone follicle (<10mm) on the right. Doctor decided to put me on 5mm of Letrozole daily. The cyst was small enough in size that he wasn’t concerned about it. Our hope was that the drug would make my follicle grow and/or produce more follicles by the following Friday morning (yesterday). My experience so far on Letrozole has not been very eventful. The possible side effects listed on the prescription bottle are drowsiness and dizziness, but I haven't experienced anything at all. No nausea or anything either. The only thing I have experienced was random cramping in my ovaries. Nothing bad, just slight and random.  The nurse I spoke to who gave me my instructions for the week told me keep up with my normal activities and just to stay as stress-free as possible. I have to say that staying relaxed and stress-free is sometimes easier said than done. I remind myself to stay calm often and also remind myself that what will be will be. More than anything this first cycle is a trial run anyway just to see what my body is doing on its own and at this first level of medicine. I was  mainly just anxious to see if there was any growth or change whatsoever….

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Wait, did that really just happen?

I haven't posted anything in a while, and while I do have some news about our fertility journey, I want to share what has happened to my family in the last couple of weeks. Last month when I was visiting my parents in Texas my mom and I made a trip to the hospital in San Antonio to visit my aunt who was waiting for a liver transplant. My parents had just moved to San Antonio from Houston and I was down helping them move in and get organized. I will forever be grateful for the timing of their move because it allowed me the opportunity to see my aunt one last time. Within the following two weeks her health deteriorated further. I don’t want to speak incorrectly so I will not mention specific details, but she eventually wound up in ICU on life support where her kidneys ultimately began to fail. It was decided by her family that she would be taken off of life support. My aunt was the kindest, sweetest, gentlest woman I believe that I will ever know in my life. I don’t remember a time when she didn’t have a smile on her face. She had a saying - “I love you higher than the sky, deeper than the sea.” She was so young – only 54 years old, and my heart aches for my uncle and my two cousins. I can’t imagine losing a parent so early in life, and I just hope that they are able to provide one another with the comfort they all need.  My aunt was buried a week ago.

The week leading up to my aunt’s funeral brought more pain for our family. My grandmother went in for a relatively elective heart surgery. She was healthy and full of life. The surgery went well. A few days after the surgery she suffered a couple of strokes….   The good news was that she was in the hospital when this happened – couldn’t have happened at a better place, right? She was rushed into surgery and had a clot buster surgery done and we were assured that, while the damage done was unknown, it was no longer a “life threatening” situation. Unfortunately, it was discovered that too much damage had been done.  The end result, after this elective surgery that she had packed her makeup and shorts for her trip home, was that my grandmother was taken off of life support and passed away. Less than a week after my aunt had been buried. A week to the day after my aunt was buried, my grandmother was buried. Today was her funeral and it was really a celebration of the person that she was and the life she lived. There was crying, but there was laughter. She touched so many people with her kindness, generosity, and her zeal for life. I was fortunate to have three sets of grandparents in my life. My grandmother because just that when my mom and stepdad married when I was a bitty girl. She took me in and never treated me any differently than any of her other grandchildren. She was funny. She loved to dance and sing, play games, play pool. Her quirky sayings. Her black hair. Her gingerbread man cookies on the Christmas tree. Her lasagna every single Christmas Eve. Singing Three Dog Night with my aunt. Margaritas. Repeated stories. Her red nails (which were not red lately, but were for as long as I can remember). Her cat figurine collection. Wine. Old albums being played in the background during a game of cards. Tubing with my cousin. Patience and strength. Faith. Humor. Courage. Her laugh. A phone call with the birthday song being sung while a ukulele was strummed. These are just a few things that fly through my mind when I think of Grandma. I wonder about the future and I worry about her kids – my dad and his brother and sisters. I worry about her granddaughter.

I really haven’t wrapped my mind around what has happened. I’ve felt bad because I don’t feel like I’m mourning like I feel I should be. Don’t get me wrong - I have cried and felt sadness, anger, disbelief. But I don’t think it has hit that within a couple of weeks we lost two fantastically unique women. These two women hit it off at my wedding six and a half years ago. I remember looking over and seeing them dancing with each other….except they weren’t dancing – they were spinning each other around in circles. Which didn’t seem like a good idea at all at the time, but they walked away unharmed. And now I see them together spinning and laughing and having such a wonderful time. I hope that they spin together in Heaven <3

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Nada. We got nada....

Well. Turns out there is no explanation for Steven's low numbers. The results from his recent labwork came in and everything falls in the normal range. "Everything" being his testosterone and LH levels. This is obviously good news, but at the same time it kind of isn't only because it doesn't explain WHY his sperm count and the related numbers are low. He's 35! He's young! So I spoke to my fertility doctor's nurse today and she wants me to come in for an updated consultation with the doctor. We're basically going to determine our plan of action, I guess. Steven hasn't had a semen analysis done in several months, so I'm hoping that they ask for another one to be done. More time has gone by since he quit smoking so maybe, just maybe, there is a simple explanation for this mess. Maybe he has just needed this much extra time for his sperm production to kick into gear. We'll see what she says. When I was talking to the nurse I expressed frustration over the fact that there is no answer to what is going on and she mentioned that it could be a genetics thing which would require additional testing. I'm not sure if there is anything that could even be done if it turns out there IS something funky going on genetically. Basically, unless he does another semen analysis and it comes back looking good, we are going to do IVF. How do I feel about this? I haven't given up hope that this is definitely what we'll end up doing. I'm holding out hope that we will be able to go with IUI's, but I'm preparing myself for the likely possibility that we'll end up facing IVF. So right now I feel hopeful for the future, disappointed that this is such a rough go for us, grateful that we aren't facing a worse situation and also grateful for my doctor and medical technology, frustrated that there are no answers, uninformed about the IVF process, resigned to what we might have to go through, ready to get the process started, scared because of what all an IVF involves, sad because I just want to hear good news soon, and anxious about dealing with the our insurance company and the financial aspect of an IVF. I guess it's time for me to break out the pamphlet they gave me during our initial visit to start studying up on what we might be up against. Sigh....

Thursday, March 1, 2012

No News Just Yet

So I just noticed that I hadn't posted anything since Feb 16th. Not much has happened, but here is what's going on. Steven had blood work done a couple of mornings ago and we are waiting on those results. As soon as his urologist gets the results he will be able to determine what type of treatment Steven needs to undergo. At that point I'll go in for a consultation with my fertility doctor to decide what our plan of action is. Hoping and hoping and hoping that his numbers come back low and are fixable with a six week treatment plan. That would mean (I'm thinking) that we would be able to start some sort of infertility treatment within the next two months. Sigh. Big sigh. *Someone* (MLR) brought it to my attention that I was practically 32, to which I internally replied, "...whaaaat the f&@k?????" and I realized that it is indeed true that I am on the verge of turning 32. Technically I still have five blessed months before IT HAPPENS but, as we know, time does not trickle slowly by. Instead it speeds by like a friggin' freight train and you're left wondering how in the hell a year has gone by and you can sit and literally remember what you were doing the previous year on that same day. Again, sigh. Here's the thing. I always thought that we'd be done having kids by now. Like WAY by now. We cut our honeymoon short by a day so we could meet with my Endo. to talk to her about starting the process of having kids. THAT WAS SIX YEARS AGO. When I say to people how I figured that we'd be done by now and mention how old I am the typical response I get is that "31 (30, 29, 28, 27, etc.) isn't too old to have a baby." or it seems that they somehow are offended that I feel disappointment because I'm my age and don't have a baby yet. Several people have said something like, "Well, I didn't have my baby until I was 30 (or whatever age they were) and it all worked out." Yeah, well I get that it all worked out and that the world didn't end because you were 30 when you had your baby. But you now, I'm allowed to feel disappointment over my circumstances. I'm just saying that I always thought shit would work out differently than it has. Sometimes it's hard to be upbeat and positive that things will work out. I try to remind myself that it really will work out how it's supposed to and when it's supposed to. Not to sound hokey, but I know that our baby is out there. Perhaps he or she is just sitting around waiting to come to life, to be created. Or perhaps he or she lives in another country or with another family right now and we will end up adopting him or her. But there are times (okay there are MANY times) when I see a baby with her family and I can't help it. I get sad and tear up. Sometimes that's okay though.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I think we might be onto something....

Steven had a C/T scan of his abdomen and pelvic area done Monday evening and I called for his results this afternoon. I *think* we got good news…in a way. Basically, they couldn’t find anything wrong. His kidney looked all normal-like and there weren’t any weird things floating around inside him. So at this point his urologist wants him to have his testosterone levels checked again. Way back when we had our first IUI and found out that his numbers were low he had been put on Clomid to try to boost testosterone production. So if his numbers come back low (which we already know they are) the urologist will either have him take Clomid (pills) or HCG shots a couple times a week for six weeks. This SHOULD improve his numbers. I really hope this is the case and that his numbers will improve to the point of us being able to move forward with an IUI instead of going straight to IVF. So he’ll have labwork done this weekend hopefully and we’ll know soon enough what he needs to be doing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s going on and have had it in my mind that we are going to end up having to do IVF.  A friend of mine asked me today if I was against (I think that was her wording) IVF because of the cost or because of the process itself. I understand that there are some people out there who are opposed to IVF for religious reasons or because they aren’t comfortable with invasive medical procedures like that, but I am definitely not one of those people. Not saying they are wrong for feeling that way– I don’t mean it to sound that way if it does. My personal thoughts are that I don’t care what needs to be done to get us a baby at this point. I was also a growth hormone patient. They made me grow, lol, so I have a different viewpoint and trust in the medical community than some might.

If IVF is what we have to do then so be it, but that doesn’t mean that I am excited to be faced with that news. IVF IS more invasive – incredibly more invasive than IUI and it is also incredibly more expensive. That really is my hang up with it – the cost. No one would be excited about that. BUT I’m not going to let myself get worked up about this until I absolutely know for  sure that it is what we absolutely have to do. No let’s all just keep our fingers crossed that we don’t have to go there, k? =)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

And Still We Wait...

It was later than I said it would be, but Steven went in to be checked out yesterday. No blockages, prostate is a-ok, and no problemos with his bladder. Sooooo....what's going on? That's what we want to know! The urologist wants Steven to go in for a CT scan of his abdomen area to see if anything odd stands out. Obviously I want to know what's causing his "issues", but at the same time I'm trying not to...not "freak out" necessarily...become overly-concerned. It was good that his results from yesterday came back good, but that also means that more looking has to be done. Steven is out of town for the next couple of days and will be out of town a few days next week, so we're hoping to get the CT scan taken care of before he leaves again next week. We just want answers! And at this point we're getting closer and closer to me having to go in again to check up on mah it'd be good to get him figured out.

So that's it...not a long post, but an update!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cilantro-Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa= Happy Tongue

Another Pinterest hit!!! Tonight we had cilantro-lime chicken with avocado salsa. It was so freakin’ GOOD! We are big fans of avocado and lemon so this was right up our alley. I would suggest this to anyone and everyone. Besides it being super tasty delicious, I hit it big nutrionally! The salsa for this dish has tomatoes, which are abundant with nutrients; onion, which are rich in vitamins; and cilantro, which is rich in vitamins, oils, and minerals. Score! For several months we were sharing an avocado every night with dinner. Steven and I like ours topped with lemon juice and sea salt…so good.  It feels really good to like something that is so good for you! According to the California Avocado Commission each avocado provides nearly 20 essential nutrients including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. Also, avocados were known as “fertility fruit” or “the fruit of kings” to the Aztecs because it was thought to increase a man’s ability to father children. In fact, according to , avocados are largely used to treat infertility in men (because) it helps increase sperm mobility and keeps sperm from grouping together as they make their journey to the egg.”  Avocados aren’t only beneficial for men’s fertility. They are also packed full of folic acid, which women want plenty of to aid in the prevention of birth defects. Avocados are also a source of monounsaturated fat, which is a good fat for our bodies. So load up on the guac, y’all! It’s good for ya!

Cilantro-Lime Chicken and Avocado Salsa

Here’s what you need:

Chicken Marinade:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I only used two and I cut them into smaller pieces so that it would cook quicker.)
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 ½ tbsp fresh lime juice
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
Cooking spray or additional olive oil for the pan

1 cup chopped plum tomato (2 should do)
2 tbsp finely chopped white onion
2 tsp fresh lime juice
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
Additional fresh lime juice for avocado

Here’s what you do:
First you will make a marinade for the chicken. Mix together all of the ingredients for the marinade (minus the cooking spray or additional olive oil) and add the chicken. This is a pretty strong marinade so only leave the chicken in for 3-5 minutes.

While the chicken is sitting in the marinade prepare the salsa by mixing all of those ingredients together. The avocado will go in last. Avocado has a tendency to get brown and yucky looking pretty quickly once it is peeled so I thoroughly coated mine in additional lime juice prior to gently mixing it into the salsa mixture. I refrigerated mine until it was ready to use. Oh, I also added a little bit of cilantro that was leftover from the marinade. I had chopped too much and didn't want to be wasteful.
The recipe (which looks to be originally from says to cook the chicken on a grill pan. Well, we don’t have one anymore as ours got all wonky from being used in the oven a few too many times so I just used a large pan and sautéed it. I would think that grilling it on a George Foreman grill would be good, too. Anyway, you want to cook the chicken until it is cooked (165 degrees).

Serve the salsa on top of your chicken and enjoy! We also had frozen corn which I mixed with leftover steamed white rice from our Chinese food from the other night. I topped my mixture with some of the salsa and it was yummy! Let me know what you think if you try it!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mushroom Soup and Jeremy Sisto

In an attempt to be healthy tonight we tried another recipe on Pinterest. We've been out of town for the past weekish and I was ready for home-cooked food instead of Subway or restaurant food. Steven really liked this soup. I'm not the biggest mushroom lover so it was "eh" for me, but if you are fond of mushrooms you should try this. I ended up kind of veering away from healthy to some degree. Steven and I decided that we didn't want the soup by itself so I pan fried a chicken breast for us to share and served the soup over steamed white rice. It was kind of a throwback to my childhood because my mom used to make this same meal except with Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup. Anyway, even though it was "eh" for me I still felt pretty good about the fact that mushrooms are jam packed full of Vitamin D. There are two cups of chopped mushrooms in the soup, so I hooked it up.

I'm gonna put the recipe down a little ways, but can first can I just talk about Jeremy Sisto? Remember him from "Clueless"? He was El-Un. He was also on "Six Feet Under" and some other stuff, but to me he will always be El-Un. He's in the new show called "Suburgatory", and it is really cute! I think he's doing such a good job with the gal that plays his daughter. So cute! If you haven't seen it, it's about a single dad and his high school aged daughter who move from NYC to the 'burbs and how different their lives are compared to before. The daughter Tessa is played by Jane Levy, and she is adorable. I can see her doing great things with her long as she doesn't go all Lindsay Lohan and stuff.

Okay, so here's the recipe. I got it from Pinterest, but it looks like it was originally from here: But here it is, y'all:

Mushroom Soup

(The above picture is from the website noted above. Mine looked similar..minus the yummy looking bread.)

2 cups fresh mushrooms - cleaned and chopped finely (I used baby bellas and some white mushrooms from Whole Foods)
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic - chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 - 2 bay leaf
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp flour dissolved in 1 tbsp water
Salt to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
Dash of nutmeg
Black pepper to taste

*I didn't notice that whole heavy cream thing when I was making my grocery list so I just added more milk and more flour...came out fine.
* Also, I used vegetable broth instead of stock and I added a good amount extra to keep the soup from getting too thick.

Here's what you do:

1. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan. Add butter and lightly sauté garlic on medium heat.
2. Add in mushrooms, thyme, bay leaf and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the moisture from the mushrooms disappears.
3. Add in chicken broth. Stir occasionally until broth boils, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
4 Add diluted flour and stir constantly (while simmering) until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and nutmeg.
5. Add milk and heavy cream, and bring to a simmer.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tasty Goodness Lemon Bread

So, can I just say that I love Pinterest? I don’t just like it. I LOVE it. I am addicted and I’ve found myself having to NOT pin things because I feel like I’m over-pinning. I found a sign on there that said “Pinterest = Crack”. I agree. Pinterest is my crack. But it’s so awesome! I love that you can click on one thing and that leads you sooooo many more THINGS….recipes, pictures, clothing ideas, crafting ideas, ideas, ideas, ideas, ideas…..
I happened to find the following recipe on Pinterest (originally from and tried it tonight. It was pretty tasty! I am a lover of lemon, so I perked right up when I saw the recipe on my screen. I had never thought of lemon bread! I’ll say that, because I love lemon so much, I’m going to add more lemon zest next time I make this, I think.  Also, the recipe says to wrap the bread up and let it sit for a while after it has cooled and the flavor will enhance. But….that didn’t happen. I cut into that bad boy pretty quickly. I have no willpower. The first picture is the one off Pinterest. It looks better than my picture so I'm going to include it. Mine didn't turn out as pretty, but HEY! Don't judge a bread by what it looks like...and stuff.

Lemon Bread

1-3/4 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
2 tsp. shredded lemon peel
1 TB. lemon juice
2 TB. lemon juice
1 TB. sugar

Stir together the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl combine the egg, milk, oil, and 1 TB. lemon juice. Add the egg mixture to the dry mixture and stir until combined. Add the shredded lemon peel and stir.

Pour batter into greased 8X4X2 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean.

While the bread is baking, stir the 2 TB. lemon juice and 1 TB. sugar together. Sugar should be dissolved before brushing on the bread.

When the bread is done, brush the lemon juice mixture on the bread (it will seem like a lot, but go ahead and use it all). Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove. Cool completely on a wire rack.

This is clearly my bread. I didn't burn the edges...that's just the lighting. Promise.

It is so good! You can see the flecks of lemon zest.

Let me know what you think if you decide to try it!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What sucked? An SIS sucked...and other news

First off let me say that whoever said that the saline sonogram was “better” than a dye test, they are carazy, or cray cray as my friend, Kyle, would say. I think what is “better” about a saline sono is that it is over much quicker than a dye test. I was done in under ten minutes, whereas the dye test that was done several years back took about twenty minutes, if I remember correctly. BUT even though it’s faster,  the pain and discomfort, it’s like they make sure pack it in to that shorter period of time. I don’t like complaining or indicating that I am in pain or discomfort during procedures like this because I figure that there will (hopefully) be much greater pain in store for me with this whole thing…say, labor. But I confess that I did squeak a few times. Anyway, to sum it up: Better because it’s shorter. Worse because the pain is worse…at least for me it was. I guess the discomfort comes from the fact that they are using a catheter to pump saline into your uterus and tubes to check things out. Cool, huh? HAHA. If I were to describe it I would say that it was like really intense cramping plus feeling like you had to pee really bad.  A word of advice, by the way: Don’t wear skinny jeans the day of this procedure. Just don't.

Results were good though. There were no abnormalities or blockages in my uterus or tubes (yay), though my doctor said that because my body hasn’t been producing estrogen on its own all this time that my uterus could use a little tweaking. I’m to take estrogen pills for thirty days then follow up with Provera for the following ten days. The estrogen will help to expand my uterus and better prime it for pregnancy, and the Provera will initiate a period. At that point I’ll go back in and she’ll determine if she wants me on estrogen for another month. I’m going to stop here and voice my thoughts. On one hand I feel very appreciative that my doctor is being so thorough. I’m really hoping that this will better help her to hone in on a path for us when we do get started with treatment. On the other hand, every time I hear that we’ll be doing something for 30 days I want to scream because that’s ANOTHER month gone by. It’s just me being ready to get this party started. I understand that she has to cover her bases and that this is all necessary. So, that being said, hopefully my uterus will be in better shape in 30 days so we don’t have to wait even longer. But maybe that will be okay, which leads me to my next bit of an update….

So we went to see a urologist Monday afternoon. He was very frank and to the point, which Steven and I both appreciated. We talked about what was going on, described Steven’s lifestyle, and he had a quick examination. Here’s what the urologist is thinking: He is concerned with the volume of the sample that Steven had analyzed by my doctor, so he thinks there might be a blockage of some sort. There was also blood in Steven’s urine sample and he says that might have something to do with his low numbers. So the next step is for Steven to have another semen analysis, an u/s on his prostate (fun), and to have his bladder checked out. All this will be done next Thursday, and hopefully whatever they find will be easily fixable and will lead to better numbers for Steven. The urologist didn’t seem overly alarmed by what he thinks might be going on, otherwise I would think that he wouldn’t wait a week and a half for Steven to be checked out.

Sooooo….more waiting. But the good thing is that we will find out what’s going on with the hubs and he will be on the mend soon. What we’re hoping for is something that is easily fixable and will up his numbers. My doctor told me that if his numbers stay low then they can still work with where he’s at…but that we’ll have to go with IVF. This is not the best news. So for now I will continue to be optimistic and be grateful that my husband is going to be taken care of even if it does not guarantee that his numbers will improve. If that’s the case then we’ll deal with that news when we receive it.  Above anything else, his health is what is more important. And on that note, I’m going to end this post and go try to figure out what the hell my neighbor is cooking. Something that smells pretty bad is seeping through the hallway and under our door. And I’m not liking it, not one stinkin’ (heehee) bit.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

And we’re off....

…sort of. I went in Thursday morning for my first round of tests. First  there was an ultrasound to check on whatever follicles might be hanging out. Basically my doctor wants to find out what my body is doing on its own this first round. After the ultrasound I had blood work done. Here is what they are checking on/looking for: levels of estradiol, FSH, anti-mullerian hormone (this hormone is produced by the ovarian follicles and, from what I understand, a woman with lower AMH produces a lower number of oocytes), and prolactin. They also are required to confirm that I don’t have any infectious diseases since I am planning on becoming pregnant: Hepatitis B and C, HIV, Syphilis, and Varicella-Zoster (which I just read is a form of herpes and commonly causes chickenpox in kids and shingles in adults). They are also looking at my TSH, or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. During my last year or so of taking growth hormone shots I was diagnosed as having hypothyroidism (basically my thyroid was lagging behind; under producing) and was put on pills to balance everything out for that last year. I was interested to find out if all was still well in that area. I heard back from the nurse that afternoon and was told that everything looked good – I am in the “normal” range (yay). The infectious diseases lab work take a little bit longer to get the results back and the nurse told me that no call is good news. I’m obviously not waiting around for a phone call as I know I’m good to go in that department. As a side note, out of the three doctors I’ve been to this is the only organization that requires patients to be screened for infectious diseases. It makes sense as any disease like that would be passed on to my baby should I become pregnant. And probably anyone who has an infectious disease knows they have it…so for anyone to intentionally keep that information from the doctors and proceed with treatment in order to get pregnant, KNOWING that they are going to infect their baby, is pretty jacked up.
Anyway, while I was there I got Steven’s results for his semen analysis. So his numbers are not looking good, in fact they are lower than they were in July. Now, I believe that several factors are contributing to this issue. I know he’s not secretly smoking. I’m not smelling any hint of cigarette smoke on him. If he is smoking then he sure as hell is doing a fantastic job of getting rid of the smell. So I know that’s not it. When I first went in for my initial meeting with my doctor she informed me that it typically takes about three months for sperm reproduction to get going again after a man quits smoking. So it’s possible that his body is still in recovery mode. Also, I was reading online that drastic weight loss can contribute to poor sperm production/count. Over the past year and a half Steven has dropped over one hundred pounds, which is pretty drastic. He drinks caffeine (I do, too, but I’m just saying.) And lastly, Steven has major MAJOR knee problems and requires strong pain meds. So there is a good chance that they are affecting his numbers. In fact, yesterday his doctor told him that the type of pain meds he is on are the ones that will least hurt his liver and reproductive organs. “Least affect”…so that means that they are probably affecting him. Okay, we don’t know this for sure obviously. I’m just saying that there are several things that could be working together to cause this problem. Oh, plus he had been taking Clomid close to when he had his numbers checked last time so that may have been helping his numbers then. We have an appointment with a urologist Monday to get him checked out. I know that he’s concerned that there might be something wrong, but I’m just not going there at this point. He is a healthy person and has made several positive changes over the past year and a half so it’s pretty disheartening for him to find out that his numbers are lower than in July. But at the same time, I hope and pray that there is nothing wrong. We’ll begin the investigation on that Monday afternoon.

As for me, I go back to the doctor Monday morning for a Saline Infused Sonogram (SIS), which is where saline will be injected into my uterus to extend it so that they can check things out more clearly. This will allow them to check out my uterus and also to make sure my fallopian tubes are clear and open. Several years ago I had something similar done to check my tubes and it was not the most fun thing ever. I’ve been reassured that this will be less painful, but the way I look at it (and that first tube check) is that this is just part of the process. Plus, should I be blessed with a pregnancy I’ll be facing much more painful “stuff” with a delivery. I say this now, but watch, the SIS will kill me Monday morning and I’ll be like, “Holy crap, Y’all! That was horrible and I couldn’t walk afterwards!”
Now for how I’m feeling. I’m not going to lie. I was really upset when I got Steven’s results. I know I KNOW that those results don’t mean that we are done, shutting down the show, etc, but it was still upsetting to learn that there is one more hurdle to jump in this process. I also know that I could be and might be facing much more difficult news later during this process, but in the moment it just wasn’t processed well. I held it together in the doctor’s office, but when I got back to my car I just broke down and had a mini pity party. Luckily it had been snowing all morning and I had privacy – my own little snow globe of a car – and could just cry without worrying about people seeing me. Several times I thought “Why?” and I’m not going to feel bad for asking that question. I’m just not. Yes, our situation could be much worse, but this is what we’re facing and it’s all relative. So I had my pity party, posted a could-be vague status on Facebook to vent, and then started to pull myself together…partially because I needed to start the process of looking forward and also because I didn’t want to have to dig my car out of the snow that was still piling up. Have to be practical, right? So anyway, I know that things could be worse. You can sit there and say, “Oh, well that’s nothing. Here’s what WE had to go through.” But for my own emotional and psychological state, I’m going to let myself feel any emotions that come my way during this process. This is an incredibly emotional process, and to be honest, I really don’t let myself think too far below the surface most of the time. I take a “Here’s what we’re going to do…” attitude and just go with it. I don’t sit and think about this not working because there’s no reason to think that way yet. But sometimes I hit a snag and I feel like it’s best to let myself go with those snags and work through however I’m feeling. That’s just me though. On top of that it’s like, okay, I’m bringing all my baggage to the table (that whole not being able to ovulate thing) and now we have to deal with this on top of it? Not fair! (Again, I KNOW THAT THINGS COULD BE WORSE.)
So that’s where we’re at now. I’m still trying to do better with caffeine and my diet (I will not allow myself to regret that delicious half of a chocolate pistachio cannoli I ate at lunch) . But y’all, it just plain sucks! And exercising? I need to get into gear and just GO TO THE GYM. It only got to freakin’ 16 degrees today. There’s no stinkin’ way I’m walking more than I have to outside, so I need to just bite the bullet and go to the gym. There’s always tomorrow…

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Yucatan Lime Soup

I found this recipe on Pinterest (originally from this website: and made it last week. It is seriously some of the best soup I've ever had! I haven't calculated the nutrition information just yet, but looking at the ingredients, it can't be bad for you at all! Y'all should definitely try it! (This made enough for my husband and I to eat for two nights with a little left over.) *For some reason when I post this it's all squished together. Sorry if it looks funky.

Yucatan Lime Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup white onions, finely chopped
1 tsp essence (2 tbsp paprika, 2 tbsp salt, 2 tbsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp pepper, 1 tbsp onion powder, 1 tbsp cayenne pepper, 1 tbsp oregano, 1 tbsp thyme)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup seeded chopped tomatoes (or 2 cans diced tomatoes)
1 jalepeno, chopped with seeds removed
1 1/2 boxes of chicken stock (4 cups)
the juice of two limes
2 cans of black beans, rinsed
1 avocado, diced (for topping)
*****Season the chicken with cumin and salt. In a large pot, saute the onions, essence, and 1/4 tsp salt in 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the cubed chicken, garlic, tomatoes, and jalepeno. I added more olive oil to moisten the mixture. Saute this mixture for about three minutes. Add the chicken stock, lime juice, and black beans. Simmer for 10-15 minutes then serve. We topped our soup with diced avocadoes and chopped cilantro and ate it with corn tortillas. Adding shredded cheease to the top would be tasty, too.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Water and Fertility...

*Okay, before I get started I feel like I should put a disclaimer of some sort. I am not a doctor or anything of the sort. Anything that I say on here is going to be based on internet research and documentation provided by my doctors. Basically, nothing I say on here is going to be all crazy. I’m certainly not going to try anything outlandish, so I wouldn’t suggest or mention it to others….unless it was to be preceded with “Oh my gosh, listen to THIS…” or followed by "...can you believe that craziness?!".  My reasoning for writing a post such as the one below is to share information that I’ve gathered for myself, information that I feel is helpful and that I can use in a practical sense in my day to day life to help myself get a baby in mah bellay.  So here goes…

One of the things my doctor in Minnesota stressed to us was that we need to stay away from caffeine and that we need to drink water. She said that it is alright for me to drink milk and natural fruit juice, but that water is the best. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Our bodies are made up of 70% water, our brains are approximately  85% water, and our bones are about 15 % water. So I know it’s what I SHOULD be drinking…but, honestly, sometimes I get bored with water. I can either not get enough of it and it’s all I’ll drink or I don’t want anything to do with it. Obviously water is good for us, it is natural and healthy and necessary for our survival, but how does it contribute to infertility?
According to this article written by Zura Jones,, water helps to flush out toxins from our bodies and it helps our bodies absorb natural ingredients from the foods we eat. And here is something else, water positively affects the quality of a woman’s cervical fluid, which in turn will better help sperm reach the eggs for fertilization. In addition, according to the author, water will help keep sperm alive for several days while waiting for fertilization to take place. Who knew? Maybe you did, but I sure didn’t.  Being a “why” person, I knew that water was good for my body, but understanding WHY it is important in relation to infertility, I am having an easier time turning down the Diet Dr. Pepper (sad)….most of the time.

I’ve read several different places that it is important to drink only filtered water so that the water we put in our bodies has been regulated and is safe. I don’t drink tap water anyway. Sure, that’s all I drank growing up, but I won’t do it now. Besides the fact that I like to know that my water has been filtered and is clean for me, I am also totally and completely creeped out by the thought of what could be CRAWLING INSIDE THE PIPES that tap water comes from. Roll your eyes if you want, but you never know, y'all. YOU NEVER KNOW.

Monday, January 2, 2012

I needs to work out, Y'all...& the greatness that is MyFitnessPal

So two summers ago I really got into losing weight. For me, like many people, the idea of trying losing weight just plain sucks. (It sure is fun and easy to gain the weight though!) For me it's the getting started part. Once I get into a routine and start seeing results I'm all in and super pumped about continuing to see results. Two summers ago I was looking for a weight loss tracking program that would track my calorie intake and my exercise...but for free. I ended up finding MyFitnessPal ( LOVE. IT. It is free (yay) and it is awesome. It has a database full of food items that makes it easy for you to track what you're eating, and you can also add items if what you're looking for isn't there already. When you sign up you input your stats and it calculates how many calories you should stick to and also protein, carbs, and a other important information, etc. It's also very cool because when you input any exercise you do it will calculate the number of calories burned, apply that to your daily calorie bank, and then you get bonus caloriess for being good (YAY). This program helped me because it kept me in line. I was excited to put in my exercise every day to see how many calories I had burned. What exercise did I do, you ask? I walked. I walked my ass off...literally. The combination of eating right (yogurt with bran cereal for breakfast and tuna fish for lunch every day for the most part. PROTEIN.), walking three to five miles 5-6 days a week, and using MyFitnessPal helped me lose around 25 pounds. Then I got all hot to trot and tried to amp it up by doing an additional dvd workout program and killed my knees....which led to me falling off the workout/weightloss wagon. Plus winter hit. Minnesota winter. No way was I walking in Minnesota winter. Since then I've been lazy and not a very good girl. I've put back on some weight, but nothing like where I started.

My plan for tomorrow is to get back onto the weightloss/exercise/healthy girl kick and really do my best to stick to it. Not only does it make me feel better, but I know that it will help when we get going with our next round.  So it's back to healthy eating and using MyFitnessPal. I've done good the past two days (I find it helpful to celebrate each day of being good) even though I devoured my french fries at Buffalo Wild Wings tonight. BUT I had their naked chicken strips and they were so stinkin' good! Plus they were without breading and were grilled so they were good for me at only 43 calories a pieces according to MFP! In addition to eating a more healthy diet, I plan on getting into a regular exercise routine (boo YAY!) A couple of months ago I started the C25K program ( and got to week four, I believe. Then we moved and I let it go. So I'll hopefully be restarting that tomorrow...though it's only 17 degrees right now and running or doing anything outside in weather this freakin' cold doesn't sound maybe the C25K part of the plan will start in a few days when it warms up some.

Anyway, if you haven't heard of MyFitnessPal and are looking for an awesome and free weightloss helper-outter, I recommend you check it out! =) I

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Story: Part Two

Happy January 1st, 2012! Here's hoping that 2012 is full of blessings and good health for us all! My first post left off with us moving to the Chicago area. This post will bring my story up-to-date...

Since we've moved and gotten settled I have met with our new infertility specialist once for a preliminary "get to know each other" meeting. I liked her immediately. She seems to be very thorough and to the point, but friendly and patient at the same time. We spent a good amount of time talking and going over my history. I feel very optimistic about my future with this doctor and look forward to working with her. So what's going on now? As soon as my next period starts there are a few tests my doctor wants to conduct to determine where exactly I am and what my body is doing on its own. My husband also has to have a semen analysis to see how things are looking on that end. I hope and pray that his numbers have improved since he quit smoking. According to my doctor it takes several months for sperm production to improve after a man has quit smoking so hopefully it has been long enough since Steven quit smoking for improvement to have taken place. If his numbers are still low enough for concern he will need to see a urologist to make sure there are no underlying issues that need to be addressed. Depending on her determination of how the two of us are looking she will decide if we can proceed with the treatment for an IUI or if IVF is necessary. Because things went so well with the first round in regards to how my body responded to the medication and because Steven is no longer smoking, I am confident that we will receive the good news that we will be able to proceed with the treatment for an IUI.

For now we wait until my next period starts. Steven will be having his numbers checked over the next week and we will keep our fingers crossed that we will hear positive news on that front. In the meantime I’ve decided that it’s time to get down to business with getting my body ready for whatever treatment we will undergo. While going through our first round of treatment I stuck to specific food and exercise guidelines that were provided by my doctor.  It’s time to get back in gear so that I can help the situation the best I can so that we can have good results with our second round of treatment. I have been doing some research on foods that are supposed to boost fertility and those that should be avoided. I think that my next post will focus on that information. Take care and thank you for reading!

My Story: Part One

Welcome! If you have stumbled upon my blog and are interested in one girl's experience with infertility, please read on. This is my first blog, so please be patient...and kind. My main reason for doing this is to share my story and my thoughts and feelings. It is so shocking to know that so many women are facing fertility problems and I feel like it is still a topic that is sometimes seen as "inappropriate" to discuss openly. The only way to change this is to share our stories so that we can learn from one another and provide support for others in similar situations. So as not to scare you off, I've decided to cover the main points of my story without going into too many details. I will recap specific points in later posts. So here's my story...

My infertility can be blamed on the fact that I was (I guess I still am, really) growth hormone deficient as a child. Basically what this means is that my endocrine system did not produce the necessary hormones to make me grow. From the time I was diagnosed, around two years of age, until I was fifteen years old I was given growth hormone shots. The decision was made to stop the shots at that age, which brought me to the height that I am now: 5'5". A side effect, I guess you could call it, for me as an adult is infertility. This is because another job of the endocrine system is the production of hormones related to fertility. In a nutshell: My body is unable to produce a menstrual cycle on its own and as a result I am unable to ovulate. When I was eighteen years old I was prescribed hormones in the form of birth control pills to stimulte a cycle and I have been on b/c pills for that reason off and on since then.

Jumping ahead to the past few years.... About four years ago my husband I decided that we were ready to get the ball rolling on trying to start a family. After meeting with an infertility specialist in Arlington, Texas I was put through what I would assume is the standard testing for an infertility patient. This included having an MRI to determine that there weren't any issues causing my infertility such as a cyst or tumor around my pituitary gland, my hormone levels were checked, and my tubes were checked to make sure there were no blockages. A sample of my husband's sperm was also checked for abnormalities. After the testing was completed my doctor started me out on Clomid, which is used to induce ovulation (in the form of a pill). Sadly, my system did not respond to the medication, which led to the determination that I would require FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), which is an injectable. Around the time when we were about to begin treatment I started teaching which led to the decision to hold off on treatment for a while. On top of that the FSH is expensive, very expensive, and our insurance was not going to cover any of it so we were looking at huge cost which scared the crap out of us, to be honest. We never went back. Life happened. I was a new teacher wrapped up in chaos, it was scary expensive, it just never seemed like a practical time, and then we ended up relocating fom Texas to Minnesota (YEAH). Let me just say that I know that it's never a "good time" to start a family and that we will never "have enough money". But when you are looking at paying thousands of dollars monthly for an undetermined amount of time just to conceive a baby to start said family, it's very scary.

When we moved my husband and I decided that it was time to make starting a family our number one priority so we started the search for a new infertility specialist. We had moved to a very small town so we didn't have to search too hard - there was only one in town. Fortunately we had already done all of the priliminary testing required for  infertility patients so we were basically able to jump in and get started. While waiting for my next period to start I started taking prenatal vitamins. My husband also was put on vitamins. For this first round my doctor presented the option of starting out on Clomid and then following up with FSH injectables. Even though my system hadn't responded to Clomid in the past she thought that maybe it would act as a sort of primer. Plus Clomid is WAY less expensive than the FSH meds so it was also a way to save a bit of money. If it worked well enough it would be a big bonus to save money by using the two as a combination rather than using the FSH alone. Let me just say right now that before starting this process I was extremely ignorant as to what was going on inside my body. I basically knew what was going on, but I didn't know the intricacies. There were many phone calls made to the nurses (the very kind and patient nurses) after getting home from appointments with my doctor and me freaking out that I didn't really fully understand what was going on. A great deal of my anxiety came from the fact that I didn't have anything to compare myself to so I learned to make sure to always clarify what SHOULD be happening. For example, when my doctor was measuring my number of follicles I asked what was "normal" or what results she would typically look for so I would have something to go by. But back to the story...I took Clomid twice a day for five days then started the injectable FSH Gonal-F. I don't think there's any way for certain to determine just how much of a role the Clomid played that first round, but the medication did its job. I started out with eleven follicles. They were small, but my doctor was quick to reassure me that eleven follicles, even small ones, was GREAT news. Over the next 22 days my follicles slowly began to grow. In the end I was left with three follicles, two of which were large enough so that we were able to move forward with an IUI (Intrauterine Insemination). At this point I'm going to stop and stress how important it is that BOTH partners involved are checked out. Because my husband's sperm count and the related numbers were in the normal range when we initially started this process several years back he did not have them retested this time around. We found out when we came in for the IUI that his numbers were extremely low. Now at this point in time my husband was a smoker. He was advised that it would be beneficial for him to stop smoking in an attempt to raise his numbers. We didn't want to waste all of the time, money, effort, and hope we had invested over the past twenty-something days so we went forward with the IUI even though the chances of conceiving were slim. You never know, right? Stranger things than conception with a couple of eggs and a low sperm count have definitely happened. Two weeks later (the longest two weeks in the history of man, by the way) I went in for a pregnancy test and we were informed that I was not pregnant. I went into that round with the mindset that in all likelihood I would not end up pregnant that first time. It really is just a guessing game, that first round, with the doctor figuring out just how much medicine your body will require. 

After that first round my husband began the process of stopping smoking. He has really done an incredible job. That was six months ago and he has not smoked in the past four months. Not only will this hopefully hope his numbers, but his overall health will be greatly improved. Since that last round we also moved...again. We relocated for a job opportunity for my husband in the Chicago area (YAY) and we again started the process of finding a new infertility specialst. And on that note, I'm going to stop for the night. I will continue my story in the next day or two....